Sanfilippo’s Pizza is a La Mesa institution with 35 years’ worth of honorary plaques, local business awards and car-show memorabilia lining the walls and wooden posts. The La Mesa police dubbed the restaurant a “Guardian Angel” in 2003, and over the kitchen window a hand-drawn pizza by first-graders at Trinity Christian School exclaims, “Your pizza is so yummy!”
More about camaraderie than cuisine—more good-times than gourmet—the restaurant has a homey, stay-a-while quality, its interior filled with red-checkered tables and hanging chianti bottles, a la an Italian patio (it’s similar but unrelated to the San Diego chain Filippi’s Pizza Grotto).
Prices are right: A wagon-wheel-sized pizza runs $13 to $18; and selections are straightforward: all meat, all veggies, a la carte (your choice from 18 toppings), and a la everything. Try also Anna’s Pizza, named in honor of owner Anna Sanfilippo, who founded the restaurant with her Sicilian husband of nearly 50 years, Don, in 1975 (their family runs the business).
Anna’s Pizza melds onions, garlic oil, pineapple and artichoke hearts. Nonpizza dinners (most in the $10 range) include everything from spaghetti or ravioli to mostaccioli or Don’s Special, a baked and layered dish featuring four kinds of pasta. Sanfilippo’s also has lunch and takeout service, offering meatball or classic torpedo sandwiches (10 inches long) for $6 to $7.